Iwata Reveals How Nintendo Developed The Early Prototype For Wii U
Posted by Andy Green
Simply strap two Wii consoles together
With the immense success of the Wii, the folks at Nintendo certainly had their work cut out when developing its successor. It was around 2009 - with the Wii well into its third year of service - that Nintendo’s top men got around a table and started to discuss what their next move would be.
The first task was overcoming the shortcomings of the Wii, finding out what its weaknesses were and how they could be improved. It was felt that the Wii had become a secondary accessory to the television, rather than being a standalone device in its own right, and they quickly got to work trying to find a way to combat this issue.
Ideas pinged back and forth across the table until a very interesting one emerged: a games console that offered a controller with a difference: one with a second screen. Naturally once an idea is thought of it needs to be made into a working prototype, something that was an issue for the company in 2009. Back then of course, tablets were in their infancy; Apple’s iPad hadn't yet been released and there were few other companies who had developed one that could imitate the 6.2-inch screen of the GamePad.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata revealed the team solved this problem by connecting two Wii consoles together and having them work as one single device. One Wii delivered graphics for the main television screen while the other showed what the GamePad screen would see:
We have a team of people who are good at handicraft and they just go ahead and make these things. We try to imagine that if we make this hardware, this is what it should be like and we try it out.
Everyone here is really used to making games for the Wii, so we can make a lot of very different games very fast. After you try dozens of different games, you get a good feeling or good response with a few of them.
It seems the team got together and made a selection of mini-games, experimenting with each one to see just what two-screen home console gaming could offer. Iwata revealed that these early games developed using the dual Wii (something we’re affectionately calling TWiinrova) served as the basis for what is now Nintendo Land.
Iwata explained that Nintendo did something similar when developing the Nintendo DS. Two screen technology was very rare at the time, especially one with a touch screen, therefore Shigeru Miyamoto made fun little games on PDA devices to get a better idea of how dual screen gaming would feel and what it could offer to the gamer.
Who knows what ideas Nintendo will cook up next time they get around that table!